Turski, Wallisch open X Games with slopestyle gold
The 2012 Winter X Games kicked off today (Jan. 26) in Aspen, Colo. as Canadian Kaya Turski and American Tom Wallish opened the show with the ski slopestyle gold medals.
Turski, of Montreal, came from behind to win her third-straight gold medal at the X Games today, and she did it by landing a trick that no woman has ever landed in this competition.
Coming into the third run of the best-of-three final in the bronze position, Turski, was sitting in the bronze medal position. “The pressure was high, third run, last to drop, I was ready to go all in,” she said.
She pulled out a perfect ‘switch 1080’ (taking off and landing backwards doing three full rotations) on the last jump of the two-rail, four jump course. It was the first time a woman has performed that jump in X Games history and it landed her a winning score of 95.00.
Turski was joined on the podium by Devin Logan of the USA in second with 92.33 points and Anna Segal of Australia who won the bronze medal with a score of 90.00.
Turski’s run was indicative of the extent to which the women’s side of this discipline has grown over the past couple of years. She acknowledged, “I think it raises the bar and I think I’m going to have to keep doing it. This event was a tough one; everyone is skiing really, really well. I think it’s going to be some serious competition for the next few years.”
Turski added that she and the other women in today’s competition had a little push from their friend, freeskiing legend Sarah Burke, who died Jan. 19 from injuries sustained while training. “We have someone watching from above who we need to make proud," she said. "She constantly pushed the sport, even when she didn’t need to by doing new and harder tricks. I think now it’s our turn to keep pushing for her.”
Burke was honored Thursday with a special tribute. Her friends and former competitors gathered at the top of the superpipe for a candlelight vigil and skied together to the bottom. ESPN also aired a video tribute to the women’s skiing pioneer.
After taking the top score in the first run, Wallisch, a Pittsburgh, PA native, took the men’s competition with the highest score ever in an X Games slope style contest (96.00) in his third and final run.
"This is amazing," said Wallisch, who claimed his career first X Games medal. "Under the lights, primetime, this crowd, it's amazing. Everybody did pretty much perfect runs, right, left, doubles, 10s, 12s, it's just a matter of trying to stand out, somehow."
X Games rookie Nick Goepper of Lawrenceburg, Indiana took the silver medal with a third run score of 94.66, ahead of Norwegian Andreas Håtveit with the bronze medal.
Wallisch also won at the latest Winter Tour stop in Killington, Vermont.
X Games skiing action continues here Saturday with the superpipe finals.
MORE TO COME
Image of Turski by Matt Morning/ESPN Images